NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 5th (All times eastern)
Utah Jazz (36-41) at Los Angeles Lakers (55-21), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers will attempt to bounce back from just their second loss since the All-Star break when they host the reeling Utah Jazz at Staples Center.
Denver's Danilo Gallinari led the way with 22 points and seven rebounds on Sunday, as the Nuggets snapped the Lakers' nine-game winning streak and clinched a playoff berth with a 95-90 victory in Hollywood.
Kobe Bryant ended with a game-high 28 points and Lamar Odom contributed 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a reserve role for the Pacific Division champion Lakers, who are still an impressive 17-2 since the break. They trail San Antonio, which defeated Phoenix earlier Sunday, by 2 1/2 games for the top spot in the West with six games to play.
Pau Gasol, despite suffering a bone bruise in his right knee, posted a double- double with 16 points and 12 boards, while Andrew Bynum grabbed a game-best 16 rebounds to go with eight points in defeat.
"They didn't do anything that we shouldn't be able to handle," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. "It's about execution. It's part of the game and we didn't do a very good job today."
Gasol, who is averaging 18.9 points and 10.2 boards for the Lakers this season, has been listed as day-to-day.
A slumping Utah team, meanwhile, will continue playing out the string tonight. Despite starting the season with a solid 15-5 record, the Jazz were officially eliminated from postseason contention last Friday after a 96-85 home loss to the Lakers, their seventh straight overall.
Utah followed that up with another loss Sunday in Sacramento when Tyreke Evans scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists to help the Kings take a 106-97 win over the Jazz.
Paul Millsap had 21 points while Gordon Hayward added a career-high 19 points for Utah, which has dropped eight straight overall, its longest losing streak since losing nine consecutive from March 4-19, 2005.
"I don't think overall it's what we expected," said Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin. "This team is struggling a little bit. We thought we'd come out with a good effort at the beginning of the ball game especially put more pressure on them. We let them get their confidence going and they had a pretty good game as a result."
Utah's season really hit the skids when Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan abruptly retired on Feb. 10 after feuding with star point guard Deron Williams. Less than two weeks later, the Jazz dealt Williams to New Jersey for Devin Harris and rookie Derrick Favors. The team is just 5-18 since Corbin replaced Sloan.
LA has won two straight and six of eight over the Jazz. Utah is winless in its last nine contests at the Lakers.
04/05 13:31:06 ET